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Delhi police unsure over odd even number dicision

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New Delhi: A day after the Delhi government’s decision to restrict plying of private vehicles through even-odd classification of registration numbers from January 1, the Delhi Police said it was yet to receive any official communication on this.

“I can’t comment on the issue. There is no clarification on it. We just heard it through media and read about it in the newspapers,” Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Muktesh Chander told IANS.

Delhi traffic police are tasked with managing vehicular movement in the national capital.

The Delhi government’s decision will apply to some 95 lakh vehicles registered in the city and the lakhs more which enter the metropolis every day from neighbouring states such as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab.

About 1,500 new vehicles are added every day to the city roads.

Delhi’s vehicular population – which causes choking jams on all weekdays – includes some 27 lakh cars.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the air quality of Delhi is said to be “very poor” with an air quality index of 331.

When air quality index ranges between 301 and 400, the air is said to cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.

Chander said he can comment on the implementation of the decision only after there is a formal communication.

“If there is a meeting, a discussion, or a letter, we will come to know about the details. How can I say anything over the issue at present,” Chander said.

Asked if it is feasible to implement the odd and even registration number classification on city roads on alternate days, Chander said: “It would be a hypothetical talk and such discussion is not ethical.”

“If there is an official information, letter or conversation, we will surely talk about the issue,” Chander said.

The Delhi Government had caused a surprise on Friday with its decision that private vehicles bearing odd and even registration numbers as the last digit will be allowed to ply on alternate days from the first day of the new year.

The sweeping move – like the one taken in Beijing in 2013 – came after the Delhi High Court compared the national capital to “a gas chamber” and sought immediate action from the central and Delhi governments.

A police officer, who did not want to be named, said it would be an “arduous task” to implement the decision.

“The decision will create its own issues. The public transport is not robust enough to properly cater to needs of Delhi residents,” the officer said.

Another official expressed surprise at the government taking such a huge decision without consulting the agency which has to implement it.

(By Rajnish Singh, IANS)

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What Gives Husbands The Licence to Rape? Decoding Marital Rape in the Indian Legal Scenario

Can there be two different definitions of rape? Can there be a differentiation between the rape of a married woman and the rape of an unmarried woman?

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Marital rape
While most of the developed world has penalized marital rape, surprisingly it is yet to be categorized as an offence in India. Pixabay
  • Cases of sexual violence, including rape, fall within the larger realm of domestic violence
  • Marital rape is yet to be categorized as a criminal offence in India
  • According to the central government, criminalizing marital rape “may destabilize the institution of marriage”

New Delhi, September 2, 2017 : Baby works as a domestic help; she says she cannot recall her age when her parents married her off to a man who was much older to her; a man she barely knew. She didn’t anticipate her husband would demand to have intercourse on their wedding night. She was still young and not ready, but that didn’t stop him. Baby was raped by her husband on her wedding night. But marital rape means nothing to her.

Sunita irons clothes for a living. She says has been married for more years than she can remember. The duo has four kids together, but that doesn’t stop her husband from raising a hand or two on her, every once in a while. Every night, her husband would get drunk, hit her and forcefully demand to have sex, paying no heed to her resistance. Sunita has three daughters, and a son, and the husband still wants to have progenies. “I told my mother that this man has raped me multiple times. She protested, arguing that he is ‘your husband’ after all,” she said.

But did she never decide to approach the authorities?

To this, Sunita promptly replied, “I once had a sore eye after he (the husband) hit me with his shoe when I refused to have sex. I went to the local hospital and then the police. I narrated the entire scene; they were very considerate, offered me water and then asked me to go home and ‘adjust’.”

Sunita is unaware of a term called ‘marital rape’.

This is the reality of a huge part of the society in real India.

Like Baby and Sunita, women who suffer such indignities are often asked to “adjust” with perpetrators of violence because of a deep –embedded fear of what the society would say. This notion of an ‘ideal woman’ impedes women to object to illicit treatment meted out by their ‘better halves’.

The debate around the issue has become ripe once again with the Central Government stating that what “may appear to be marital rape” to a wife “may not appear so to others”. In an affidavit to the Delhi High Court, the central government took a stand against criminalizing marital rape saying that it “may destabilize the institution of marriage” and also become easy tool for harass the husbands and the in-laws.

Rape v/s Marital Rape

Rape is defined in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, but with an irregularity: “Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.”

While rape is addressed as perforation without a woman’s accord in its main clause, the only remedy to forced intercourse provided to ‘married’ woman is specified under Section 498-A of the IPC and the civil provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestiic Violence Act.

Following the horrific 2012 Nirbhaya rape case that brought the entire world to a standstill, the Indian media has given paramount coverage to instances of rape across the country. But even after 5 years of the gut-wrenching incident, there seems no end to this crime.

ALSO READ The Hardships of Sexuality: Marital rape, violence and humiliation

Cases of sexual violence, including rape, fall within the larger realm of domestic violence. However, rape by husbands within holy matrimony continues to remain an obscure subject in India and the exact number of cases is hard to gauge.

According to a 2015 report by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) tracing the proximity of offenders to the victims of sexual violence, it was revealed that in 95 per cent of all rapes, the offenders were familiar to the survivors. These, presumably include acquaintances, friends, relatives and colleagues.

And what about rape committed by husbands?

These cases continue to be an under-reported crime in India. This can be attributed to two major reasons,

  • Because of the stigma associated with it
  • Because of the presence of a defunct justice system

Furthermore, more often than not, these cases go missing because of several additional (and unnecessary) barriers stemming from a combination of familial and/or social power structures, shame and dependency.

Marital Rape In India

While most of the developed world has penalized marital rape, surprisingly it is yet to be categorized as an offence in India.

A United Nations’ report titled ‘Why do some men use violence against women and how can we prevent it?’ published in 2013 disclosed that nearly a quarter of 10,000 men  in Asia-Pacific region, including India, admitted to have indulged in the rape of a female partner. The report traced their rationale to a deep-embedded belief that they are entitled to sex despite the consent of their partners.

The study also revealed that the majority of these instances were not reported and the perpetrators faced no legal consequences.

In 2014, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in association with International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) brought out a report titled ‘Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference in India’. Among other things, the report analyzed the average Indian male’s understanding and interpretation of the idea of ‘masculinity’ and how that molds their interactions with women.

Not surprisingly, the study revealed that a typical man in the Indian society associated the attributes ‘tough’, and ‘controlling’ with masculinity.

Segments of the present day Indian society continue to look at men as tough forces, who can (must) freely exercise their privilege to establish rule in personal relationships and above all, continue to control women.

Additionally, the study also revealed that 60 per cent of the Indian men disclosed the use of physical violence to establish authority.

In India, stiff patriarchal norms continue to tilt the gender balance firmly in the favor of men, as a result of which, women are forced to internalize male dominance in their lives.

Marital Rape in India : A Legal Perspective

Section 375 essentially distinguishes between two categories of women

  • Married women
  • Unmarried women

Much to the Indian society’s disappointment, the Indian legal system denies protection from rape to the married woman. This creates discrimination as the women belonging to one section are denied justice merely by virtue of being married.

But can there be two different definitions of rape? Can there be a differentiation between the rape of a married woman and the rape of an unmarried woman? Is it justified to discriminate a woman just because she is married to the man who has raped her?

The Debate Around Marital Rape In India

Despite the piquant situation, the issue raised furor when Minister of State for Home, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary told the Parliament that the question of criminalizing marital rape in India has no relevance “as marriage is treated as sacred here.”

Does marriage being a sacrament provide one with the legal right to rape a woman?

South Asia director at Human Rights Watch Meenakshi Ganguly had retaliated saying that it is particularly concerning when a government that claims to secure the safety of women inside and outside national territory shamelessly turn to justify a crime in the name of culture and tradition.

Group director of social and economic development at the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) Priya Nanda asserted in an interview with a leading portal that “the reason men don’t want to criminalize marital rape is because they don’t want to give a woman the power to say no.”

In 2013, a three-member commission headed by Justice J.S. Verma suggested remedial measures to combat sexual violence in India, following the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case. One of its recommendations was the criminalization of marital rape.

ALSO READ Reasons Why Marital Rape Should Be Recognised as a Criminal Offence

The recommendation was ignored by the government as a large amount of people questioned its efficiency saying if made a crime,

  • It might be misused by people
  • It will be difficult to prove
  • It might break up marriages

But, how fair is it to not have a law against marital rape, only because of the reason that it is ‘difficult to prove’?

In a broader understanding, it needs to be understood that the criminalization of marital rape must not be viewed as a step against men or the institution of matrimony, but as an attempt to demolish the patriarchal system that continues to clutch the Indian society.


 

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Aam Aadmi Party’s Mohalla Clinics come under scanner: Vigilance Department exposes, Ministers faked the rent amount

Top highlights from findings of Vigilance Report

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Delegation from University of Southern California visits Mohalla Clinic
Delegation from University of Southern California visits Mohalla Clinic. Delhi Govt. Website
  • There are currently 110 Mohalla Clinics in Delhi with 106 doctors working
  • The Vigilance Report stated that the doctors were allegedly treating around 533 patients a day
  • The doctors were paid Rs. 30 for attending each patient per day

New Delhi, September 1, 2017: The Delhi Government’s Vigilance Department has submitted a report on the functioning of Aam Aadmi Party’s Mohalla Clinics to Anil Baijal, Lieutenant Governor. Anil Baijal suspected blunders in the functioning of all the Mohalla Clinics, the probe is going on.

Mohalla Clinics were introduced by AAP Government so that free healthcare could be provided to people of Delhi in the vicinity of their homes.

Also Read: Rankings of Aam Aadmi Party Delhi MLAs Drop due to Poor Performance. Praja Foundation publishes Latest Government Performance Report

There was a conflict between Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal over the clearance of pending files regarding the Mohalla Clinic Project. After 45 MLA’s of AAP protested at his office, he had a meeting with AAP Party leader and said that the decision on it will be taken soon.

Top 10 points on the issues highlighted in the Vigilance Report:

  • It all started when the Vigilance Department received complaints on “irregularities” in the running of Mohalla Clinics after which it asked details of it from Chief District Medical Officers (CDMO) and Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
  • There are currently 110 Mohalla Clinics in Delhi with 106 doctors working.
  • The complaint was based on issues like total salaries being paid to private doctors who worked in Mohalla Clinics and on rent for few of the clinics
  • The doctors were paid Rs. 30 for attending each patient per day, they allegedly played with the number of patients (they increased the number of patients to take more money home).
  • The report stated (as per probed complaints) that the doctors were allegedly treating around 533 patients a day (9 am- 1 pm) which is practically impossible considering they were told to give 7-10 minutes time for each patient. So, it means that they violated the rules and fudged the numbers.
  • The data of patients are evaluated by an NGO called Wish Foundation and its role was questioned. The Vigilance department wrote in its report, “The data needs to be strictly under the control of the Health and Family Welfare department to ensure its reliability and integrity. The payment to doctors was made without requisite audit and verification of the patient footfall.”
  • Some Aam Aadmi Party leaders have been hugely benefited from the opening of Mohalla Clinics. According to ABP report, “Some of the Mohalla Clinic’s rent being paid is more than the average rent for that place. It was the case with areas like Vikas Vihar, Todapur, Paschim Vihar and Indra Park.”
  • In the Vikas Vihar area of Delhi, the average rent of two rooms for Mohalla Clinic is Rs.5500 but Rs.12500 more rent is being paid from the actual rent.
  • In Todapur, the average rent of 2 rooms is Rs.7500 but the Delhi Government is paying as much as 15000 for it.
  • A Mohalla Clinic in Paschim Vihar was found in the house of AAP’s Trade Wing leader Sanjay Aggarwal where the average rent is Rs.8000 but the Government is paying Rs.20,000 for it. Whereas In Indra Park, Secretary of AAP, Umesh Sharma’s house has a Mohalla Clinic the average rent of which is Rs.6000 but Rs.15000 is being paid for it.

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How Are Restaurants Operating Without Permit? Asks High Court: 19 Hauz Khas Village Eateries in Delhi Lose Licence

Restaurants in HKV lack security and fire safety mechanisms. Delhi High Court has thus ordered probe to answer how these establishments have been running without permit.

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Hauz khas village
The Delhi High Court believes unlawful construction of restaurants in HKV is a very serious issue, involving “valuable rights of the people". Wikimedia
  • Hauz Khas village has come under the scanner of the Delhi High Court for ‘unlawful existence’ and operation of restaurants without obtaining mandatory permits
  • According to PILs, restaurants cramp the narrow lanes of HKV without proper security and fire safety mechanisms in place
  • Licenses of 19 restaurants have been revoked by the SDMC 

New Delhi, August 23, 2017: With the wave of pop-culture that has come up in Delhi in the last few years, Hauz Khas village in south Delhi has emerged as the hub of ‘alternate culture’. While the ‘village’ remains comfortably filled during the weekdays, it gets crowded beyond measure over the weekends. There are usually long queues of cars and people waiting to enter HKV (as it is popularly known) that is home to a number of state-of-the art cafes, eateries and designer boutiques.

Hauz Khas village is not only famous its enviable list of establishments, but also for the number of cases that have previously been filed against the popular hub.

Hauz Khaz vilage has previously been in news for the following reasons-

September 2013: 34 restaurants were shut down for four days upon orders from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for violating environmental flaws, following which they were conditionally allowed to operate on promise of upholding the laws.

August 2016: A ‘minor fire’ in the urban hub killed an Indian businessman and injured a French woman, bringing to light the poor safety standards and remedial mechanisms in the place.

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February 2017: a 26-year old was allegedly sexually assaulted in the wee hours of the morning after a night of partying in HKV. A series of similar incidents have remained common to the area.

July 2017: The village came in news when the police decided to ban the Tuesday-Wednesday ladies’ night in the area to keep law and order in place and avoid possible cases of sexual assault or violence. While the ban was never imposed, security arrangements in the area were strengthened.

The cramped, neon-lit streets and cafes of this urbanized village have once again come under the radar of the Delhi High Court now for illegal constructions and encroachments.

Following the hearing of PILs alleging “unlawful existence” of eateries in the village, a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar made an oral observation saying the court is to protect and upload “the life and personal liberty of every person in the city.”

The bench’s observation came following the hearing of petitions filed by social activist Pankaj Sharma and advocate Anuja Kapur.

According to the petition filed by Sharma, the village is a host to 120 eateries and pubs, most of which have been illegally constructed in the absence of an approval of their building plans from the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC). Alternatively, the plea by advocate Anuja Kapur claims that these restaurants and bars are additionally violating the law as they continue to operate without a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the required authorities including the fire department.

ALSO READ: Why do buildings collapse?

Kapur in her plea to the High Court had also raised allegations against the police claiming that no officer can be spotted in the village which gives various business owners an opportunity to indulge in ‘illegal activities’, which she believes are done with support from the local police.

Hauz Khas village is a popular commercial hub in the city and has a footfall of around 5,000 during weekdays which escalates to over 15,000 during the weekends.

Thus, the petitioners had also raised objections towards the risks to security and fire hazard in the village and asserted that the cramped location jam-packed with enormous crowd furthers the threat by making it impossible for ambulances and fire trucks to enter the area in case of emergencies.

It was revealed before the bench on August 22 that there is only one entry and exit in the village to allow the movement of fire tending vehicles.

Fire chief GC Mishra in his interview to the Indian Express in early August had asserted that the place is very congested for a city that ranks at level 4 of earthquake risk. “There is complete disregard towards the stability of the structure. Also, the access road is very narrow. How do I take my vehicles there?” he had said.

Previously, the High Court in May had issued a notice to the Centre, Delhi government, Delhi Police and SDMC to ensure strict enforcement of the law in the village and provide the court with a detailed account of the exact number of restaurants operating illegally.

Responding to the Court’s order, the Corporation revealed that they have issued notices of closure to 19 restaurant owners who do not possess the obligatory clearances. According to the report, “Nine licenses (have been revoked) for running the restaurants with more than the permitted number of seats and 10 licenses for running their trade on roads that don’t meet norms.”

The bench said during the hearing that this is a very serious issue, involving “valuable rights of the people”, according to a report by PTI.

Following the PILs the bench has asked authorities to file a status report explaining how these enterprises are running without a permit.

The SDMC has been directed to supplement the court with a detailed site-plan of the village clearly stating the location of different properties sprawled across the village along with the permissible property usage of Delhi as explained in the master plan of the city.

The bench has also asked the petitioners and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to undertake detailed inspection of the place and inform the court about the width of the only road that runs through the area.

The bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar further asserted that any decision would be taken keeping the right of owners to undertake business activities, as guaranteed in the Indian Constitution, in mind.

However, the rights shall be considered “only if one has complied with the building bye-laws and the master plan. Violators will have to go,” the bench added.

The case is scheduled to have a further hearing on September 5.



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